24 Best & Fun Things to Do in Franklin (NC)

In search of the best and fun things to do in Franklin, NC?

Franklin is a borough in North Carolina within the Nantahala National Forest in the County seat of Macon County, United States.

According to the 2020 census, the city was recorded to have a population increase of over 3, 000 with a current population of 4, 175.

Franklin is a city every tourist will love to visit, a place where fun, entertainment and relaxation is guaranteed through the diverse options of attractions available.

The city features several exciting attractions you should visit, such as Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine, the Lazy Hiker Brewing Company, the Old Cardinal Gem Mine, the Little Tennessee River Greenway, and more.

Are you planning an exploration of Franklin? Here are the top things to do in Franklin, NC.

Things to Do in Franklin, NC

1. Macon County Historical Society and Museum

Macon County Historical Society and Museum
Credits: Lesley Looper / Flickr
Macon County Historical Society and Museum

Macon County Historical Society and Museum is housed in a beautifully refurbished historic goods store erected in 1904.

The historic society was formed to bring people to an ideal spot to educate them about the history of Macon County.

Macon County Historical Society and Museum take guests on tour, giving them a close insight into the different phases of the county’s history.

Visitors are taught about the era of the Civil War, the days of the early settlers, and the evolution of every sector in the region, including electricity, schools, automobiles, and more.

Address: 36 W. Main Street, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

2. The Smokey Mountain Center for the Performing Arts

Smokey Mountain Center for the Performing Arts
Credits: Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts / Facebook
Smokey Mountain Center for the Performing Arts

For an amazing entertainment experience, add a visit to the Smokey Mountain Center for the Performing Arts to your list of fun things to do in Franklin, NC.

The Smokey Mountain Center for the Performing Arts has existed since 2009 and has consistently served the public.

The performing arts center is dedicated to producing several family-friendly entertainments such as comedy shows, dramas, music shows, and more.

The Smokey Mountain Center for the Performing Arts can accommodate up to one thousand, five hundred and three persons.

The top-notch lighting and fantastic sound system maximizes the quality and optimum enjoyment of the productions and shows performed.

The Smokey Mountain Center is a venue for events like the Bethlehem experience, Christmas dinner show with friends and family, and more.

Address: 1028 Georgia Road, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

3. Smoky Mountain Visitor Center

Smoky Mountain Visitor Center is a must-visit for tourists in Franklin, especially those who want to shop for unique souvenirs.

The center is adequately maintained with a lovely gift shop packed with a wide variety of merchandise suitable as gifts or souvenirs.

Smoky Mountain Visitor Center consists of a snack bar where delicious coffee and other drinks with nice snacks are offered.

The staff is knowledgeable and professional when attending to visitors, offering assistance when needed and answering every question asked.

Smoky Mountain Visitor Center features a large parking lot, clean lavatories, and a few picnic tables where visitors can relax and grab a snack.

Address: 4437 Georgia Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

4. Ruby Cinemas

Ruby Cinemas
Credits: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

For the movie fans, here is a place for you; Ruby Cinemas is a privately owned and operated cinema in Franklin.

Ruby Cinemas is a four-screen movie theater beautifully designed in a stadium style, at any point where you are seated, you will be able to see the stage without stress.

The theatre offers movie tickets onsite and online for fantastic prices you can’t get elsewhere, plus the extremely clean environment.

Ruby Cinemas features an excellent digital projection and good acoustics system with comfortable seats for patrons to enjoy their time here.

There is a snack bar that offers delicious hot popcorn and other snacks with a wide variety of delightful drinks.

Address: 2097 Georgia Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

5. Old Cardinal Gem Mine

Old Cardinal Gem Mine
Credits: ju_see / Shutterstock

Old Cardinal Gem Mine has existed for over forty years and has become a popular place for adults and children.

The Gem Mine produces moonstones, rubies, garnet, and Amethyst. Searching for gemstones is usually messy, so children always enjoy fiddling in the dirt.

Old Cardinal Gem Mine also offers buckets of ore to those who do not like digging up the earth in search of gemstones; all they need to do is separate the dirt from the treasures.

While visiting, wear appropriate attire, sunscreen, and sun hat, and get ready to get messy.

Address: 71 Rockhaven Drive, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

6. Wayah Bald Outlook Tower

What better way to start exploring the city of Franklin rather than visiting the Wayah Bald Outlook Tower.

Wayah Bald Outlook Tower is located in the Nantahala National Forest; beginning from the parking spot, you need to hike for a short while before you get to the vista.

This is a perfect place where nature lovers get to appreciate the works of nature; visitors are also allowed to go to the tip of a stone fire tower.

The stone fire tower was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937, offering amazing views of the surrounding environment.

Wayah Bald Outlook Tower offers you an opportunity to view Tennessee’s Great Smokey Mountains from the northern side and Georgia’s rolling hills from the southern side.

You will find many hiking trails in the region with many picnic areas where you and your travel companions can host a picnic.

Address: Nantahala National Forest, Franklin, NC 278734 United States

7. Bartram Trail

Bartram Trail
Credits: siamionau pavel / Shutterstock

If you truly want to explore the city, add a visit to Bartram Trail to your list of fun things to do in Franklin, NC with your friends and family.

The Bartram Trail stretches along the footprints of William Bartram, a naturalist of the 18th-century who embarked on a 4-year expedition in 1773.

The section of the trail, which is more popular, extends for 155 miles towards North Carolina, starting from the mountains of North Georgia.

Bartram Trail is a National Recreation Trail that leads to various beautiful and outstanding points in south and North Carolina, including Florida and Georgia.

The trail is easily accessible from Franklin, leading to the Nantahala National Forest and then to Wayah Bald, the most elevated point on the trail.

Address: Franklin, NC 28734 United States

8. The Little Tennessee River Greenway

Little Tennessee River Greenway
Credits: Akhenaton Images / Shutterstock

The Little Tennessee River Greenway is an exceptional greenway that runs for five miles offering the public a large green space to have fun.

The greenway goes along some of the remarkable natural landscapes in the city; it is an open land that has been transformed into a beautiful walkway going along many natural amenities.

The Little Tennessee River Greenway is surrounded by a natural environment featuring woodlands, pastures, and wetlands.

The greenway is a paradise for nature lovers, featuring well-paved and unpaved hiking and biking trails.

The Little Tennessee River Greenway features exercise stations and an incredible nine-hole disc golf course for beginners and experts.

You will also find a beautiful butterfly garden, a splash pad used by children to cool off during the hot days at big bear park, and a playground for kids.

The Little Tennessee River Greenway also features areas for launching kayaks and canoes with picnic shelters.

Address: 573 E Main Street, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

Also check out our list of things to do in New Bernthings to do in Emerald Isle and cool things to do in Wake Forest, if you are planning a North Carolina road trip.

9. Mason’s Ruby and Sapphire Mine

Mason’s Ruby and Sapphire Mine
Credits: herbert251 / Shutterstock

Do you enjoy hunting for treasures? If yes, add a visit to Mason’s Ruby and Sapphire Mine to your list of fun things to do in Franklin, NC.

Mason’s Ruby and Sapphire Mine offers visitors an exceptional experience searching for gemstones.

The Mine has existed since 1950 and offers visitors entrance to search for gemstones for a little fee.

Mason’s Ruby and Sapphire Mine features professional instructors who teach the visitors all the basics of treasure hunting.

After the instructions, you set out with your bucket and spade to a particular spot to find rare gemstones for a few hours.

Engaging in a treasure hunt in Mason’s Ruby and Sapphire Mine is relatively challenging and exciting, and whatever you dig up is yours.

Address: 6961 Upper Burningtown Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

10. Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum

Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum
Credits: Brent Moore / Flickr
Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum

For those interested in learning about the history of minerals, add a visit to Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum to your list of fun things to do in Franklin, NC.

Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum offers visitors a platform to learn more about gemstones and minerals as well as local gemstone mines.

The museum houses an extensive collection of gemstones and minerals from different parts of the world, including fossils, historical pieces, and more.

Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum educate the visitors about the natural procedures involved in producing gemstones.

Visitors also learn how to recognize precious gemstones in raw form and are allowed to watch firsthand how they are cut, cleaned, and refined into jewelry.

Address: Old Macon County Jail, 25 Phillips Street, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

11. Franklin Golf Course

Franklin Golf Course
Credits: Gualberto Becerra / Shutterstock

Are you a fan of golf? Golfing at Franklin Golf Course is one of the best things to do in Franklin, NC with your family and friends.

Franklin Golf Course was established way back in 1923, and it is open to players of all skill levels, irrespective of their ages.

The golf course is a nine holes course and par 36 with a length of 2, 933 yards. Franklin Golf Course also features other essential amenities.

Franklin Golf Course consists of a driving range, swimming pool, and a driving range, usually open all day of the week.

There is a green setting and a fully packed pro store featuring a wide variety of golf equipment and attire for everyone.

Franklin Golf Course also has a snack bar where visitors can enjoy delicious snacks and drinks before or after golfing.

Address: 255 1st Fairway Dr, Franklin, NC, United States

12. The Scottish Tartans Museum

Scottish Tartans Museum
Credits: Warren LeMay / Flickr
Scottish Tartans Museum

The Scottish Tartans Museum is owned and operated by the Scottish Tartans Society with the main aim of studying and promoting the Scottish Highland Dress History worldwide.

The Museum showcases more than six hundred separate tartan samples with kilts from the 1800s. In addition, Scottish Tartans Museum contains more than 11, 000 tartan samples on the computer database for visitors to enjoy.

The Scottish Tartans Museum attends different kinds of Scottish Festival held annually as well as Highland games to offer visitors more information.

Address: 86 E. Main Street, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

13. Sheffield Mine

Sheffield Mine
Credits: Andrew Connell / Flickr
Sheffield Mine

Sheffield Mine was formerly owned by Tiffany, and it is recognized as one of the oldest Mines in Franklin, which is still in operation.

The Mine consists of countless sapphires and rubies yet to be uncovered by gemologists trained to discover and polish gemstones.

Sheffield Mine enlightens visitors on how to identify a soiled gemstone usually coated with mud and granite, which experts easily identify.

You can also request for a bucket of gemstones If you don’t want to dig up mud, you only get to polish the stones and take them home.

Address: 385 Sheffield Farms Road, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

14. Artisan Jewelers

Artisan Jewelers
Credits: Kwangmoozaa / Shutterstock

The city of Franklin is well known for its abundance of gemstones; if you’re looking for a place that will turn your gems into lovely jewelry, add a visit to Artisan Jewelers to your list of things to do in Franklin, NC.

Artisan Jewelers is a family-owned establishment that has been in business for more than thirty years with years of experience.

They are known for creating beautiful pieces of Jewelry from Platinum, Sterling Silver, and gold. In addition, artisan Jewelers offers a large selection of gemstones for patrons to purchase.

Artisan Jewelers also offers an extensive selection of mineral and special crystals gotten from local mines and other parts of the world.

The company encourages visitors to come in and appreciate the amazing, beautifully displayed pieces and pick one as a perfect souvenir.

Address: 3348 Georgia Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

15. Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine

Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine
Credits: NOTE OMG / Shutterstock

Visiting the Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine is one of the best things to do in Franklin, NC; the mine consists of natural mineral residues.

The residues found at the Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine was created by the ancient glaciers and rivers’ movement.

Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine is now open to everyone for tours of the property, and they are also allowed to hunt for precious stones.

At the Mine Office, you will be given all the essential information you need to know and also shown samples of what an actual gemstone in raw form looks like.

Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine offer all the tools needed for digging and tips on cleaning a gemstone or ore found.

Address: 41 Cherokee Mine Road, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

Planning to explore North Carolina? Get the best of attractions and activities in StatesvilleBurlington, and High Point for a fun vacation.

16. Rathskeller Coffee Haus and Pub

Rathskeller Coffee Haus and Pub
Credits: ChristianChan / Shutterstock

One of the best things to do in Franklin, NC is visiting the Rathskeller Coffee Haus and Pub, which is also a perfect way to start your day.

Rathskeller Coffee Haus and Pub is a beautiful place with a mixed style of Interior decor featuring artworks, a ceiling coated with flags of different countries in the world, and an open brickwork.

They are well known for serving the city’s best coffee with other beverages, freshly baked goods, and delicious snacks.

Rathskeller Coffee Haus and Pub serves Chai Latte, Tea – Herbal and Traditional, Hot Chocolate, Cold Drinks, Milk Shakes, Espresso Milk Shakes, Americano, Macchiato, and more.

They also serve light snacks like Cheesecake, Cakes, Choc. Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich, Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans, Brownies, and more.

Rathskeller Coffee Haus and Pub also offers a large collection of beers, and visitors can enjoy live music on Saturdays by 8pm.

Address; 58 Stewart Street, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

17. The Lazy Hiker Brewing Company

Lazy Hiker Brewing Company
Credits: Jag_cz / Shutterstock

The Lazy Hiker Brewing Company is your number one destination whenever you want to relax, meet and chill with friends.

The brewery was founded in Franklin in 2015, and housed in the former Franklin Town Hall and Fire Department.

The Lazy Hiker Brewing Company is committed to producing the best hand-crafted beers using quality local ingredients.

There is an indoor tap room where guests can try out several samples of drinks produced and a cozy outdoor patio for relaxation.

Some of the drinks served include Trail Candy, Trail Mate Golden Ale, Wesser Evil Porter, Slack Pack IPA, and many more; a food truck onsite serves delicious meals.

The Lazy Hiker Brewing Company features a disc golf course perfect for all golf players and an outdoor event center available for rentals for any type of event.

Address: 188 W. Main Street, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

18. Lucio’s Restaurant

Lucio's Restaurant
Credits: Lucio’s Restaurant / Facebook
Lucio’s Restaurant

Lucio’s Restaurant is family-owned and operated in Franklin, established in 1984; it is a restaurant known for serving delectable Italian cuisine.

The restaurant uses authentic Italian recipes coupled with fresh and locally harvested ingredients to prepare the meals.

Lucio’s Restaurant serves nothing but delicious and freshly prepared meals, including a variety of appetizers, and desserts.

They serve meals like carpaccio di mango, fried zucchini, agnello ai due modi, tagliolini alla granseola, tagliolini alla granseola, steamed mussels, eggplant parmigiana, grilled steak, and more.

Lucio’s Restaurant offers a comprehensive wine list featuring drinks from different parts of the world including vodka, beers, whisky, gin, seasonal aperitivi, and more.

The staff is very friendly and ensures everyone is fully satisfied and comfortable in the welcoming and clean environment.

Address: 313 Highlands Road, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

19. Currahee Brewing Company

Currahee Brewing Company
Credits: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Are you looking for a lively place to hang out with your pals? Visiting Currahee Brewing Company is one of the top things to do in Franklin, NC.

Currahee Brewing Company features a beautiful beer garden that is highly comfortable, offering scenic views of the Tennessee River.

The Brewery has a large brewing production facility and a tap room where customers check out some of their latest productions.

Currahee Brewing Company offers drinks like der Betrunken, the Blush Creek, Garand Ipa, Mountain Blonde, Lucky Scars Hazy Ipa, Stay Peachy, Frankenstark, Kawi, and more.

The brewery also features an ample outdoor music stage where talented local artists perform to showcase their various talents.

Currahee Brewing Company provides an onsite food truck that offers meals to match the drinks served and an area for canoe and kayak launches.

Address: 100 Lakeside Drive, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

20. Pappa’s Pizza to Go

Pappa’s Pizza to Go
Credits: www.petrovvladimir.ru / Shutterstock

Whenever you want to eat out with your family and friends, add a visit to Pappa’s Pizza to Go to your list of fun things to do in Franklin, NC.

Pappa’s Pizza to Go was built out of the quest to provide an eatery in the community that serves mouthwatering pizzas for affordable costs.

The restaurant is more focused on offering takeaway, although there are a few number of tables for those who want to eat there.

Pappa’s Pizza to Go offers pizzas with different kinds of toppings such as mushrooms, green peppers, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, bbq sauce, grilled chicken, mozzarella, cheeses, and more.

They offer different sizes of pizzas suitable for a small or large group; Pappa’s Pizza to Go also serves salad and more.

Address: 263 Holly Springs Plaza, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

21. The Franklin Farmers Tailgate Market

Franklin Farmers Tailgate Market
Credits: Denis Tabler / Shutterstock

Your list of things to do in Franklin, NC wouldn’t be complete without shopping at the Franklin Farmers Tailgate Market.

The Franklin Farmers Tailgate Market was founded by a group of local organic farmers in 2001, with only one focus being organic farming.

The market is operated by the Franklin Taligaye Market Association as a seasonal market usually open from April to October on Saturdays from 8am-12pm.

The Franklin Farmers Tailgate Market features an eclectic collection of vendors and local vendors from the community and other surrounding areas.

Some items showcased include locally grown vegetables, fruits, freshly cut flowers, honey, organic soap, baked goods, herbs, and more.

The Franklin Farmers Tailgate Market also offers fresh pork & lamb, herbs, traditional meals, trout, plants, and craft works.

 Address; Between 226 & 268 East Palmer St. Franklin NC, United States

22. The Attic Antiques

The Attic Antiques
Credits: The Attic Antiques / Facebook
The Attic Antiques

Are you searching for a store to shop for rare treasures? Then, a visit to the Attic Antiques should be added to your list of things to do in Franklin, NC.

The Attic Antiques offers visitors an amazing experience when they come in, to shop for beautiful items ideal as home or office decor and any other place you want it to be.

The store offers the best quality furniture, unique antiques, gifts, and other commodities for both men and women.

The Attic Antiques offers customers quality products with long-lasting values for mind-blowing prices.

The store is well organized and clean with friendly staff who offer fantastic customer services, ensuring everyone is well attended to.

So whenever you want to shop for lovely gifts for your loved ones or souvenirs for yourself, make sure you head to the Attic Antiques.

Address: 268 E Palmer St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

23. Rose Creek Mine

Rose Creek Mine
Credits: Rose Creek Mine / Facebook
Rose Creek Mine

Rose Creek Mine is a tourist destination that has been operating since 1952. It is one of the three official gem mines in Macon County, North Carolina. Rose Creek Mine is situated in the central area of the Smoky Mountains.

They are close to waterfalls, antique shops, Cherokee Indian Reservation, museums, AT Trail hiking, white water rafting, and Historic train rides.

Visitors can search for Sapphire, Moonstone, Topaz, Rose Quartz, Amethyst, Ruby, Garnet, Quartz Crystals, Citrine, and many more in their Gem Mine.

Every piece of equipment you need is available, and they also assist beginners. Mining is a great fun activity for families, senior citizens, church groups, scout troops, and others. You can be part of their educational programs, which are designed to suit the needs of everyone.

Rose Creek Mine features a large rock and gift store with many fine gems and minerals you can add to your collection. They have a shaded picnic and a mini playground area for the pebbled pubs.

Address: 115 Terrace Ridge Dr, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

24. Rufus Morgan Falls

Rufus Morgan Falls
Credits: Jill Lang / Shutterstock
Rufus Morgan Falls

An ideal place to visit and enjoy the outdoors is the beautiful Rufus Morgan Falls, a 60-foot sliding waterfall perched in the Nantahala Ranger District west of Franklin.

The waterfall took after the name of Albert Rufus Morgan, a conservationist, Episcopal priest, poet, and devoted hiker who preserved an enormous part of the Appalachian Trail till his demise in 1983 at the age of 97.

He helped greatly in the establishment of the Appalachian Trail. The waterfall is located in the trail loop, allowing guests to hike this place and enjoy the surrounding views.

It is somewhat challenging to take photos of the area since the waterfall has a small chute, which is a bit surrounded by tree trunks. Aside from this, you can still capture some amazing photos if you are up for some challenge.

Address: Unnamed Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

Take time to exploring other North Carolina cities, here is our list of things to do in Waynesvillethings to do in Southport, and things to do in Black Mountain.

Plan a Trip to Franklin

Franklin is widely known for its assortment of Mining Companies due to the abundance of Gemstones in the region; it is a great place for amateur gemologists.

This is a city for everyone as there is always something for everyone, it caters the need of outdoor enthusiasts, history lovers, adventure seekers, foodies, art fanatics, nature lovers, and more.

Franklin offers you an incredible experience, especially with your friends and family. Start planning to explore Franklin!